I cannot even believe I am saying this, but I must blurt it out.
Texas opens its polling places for early voting on Oct. 13. I intend to be among the first in line to cast my ballot for president of the United States of America.
I will be wearing my mask. I’ll have my spray-on hand sanitizer in my pocket. I will keep a socially distant space between myself and the total strangers with whom I intend to be standing.
You see, this represents a monumental sea change for yours truly. I am one who is wedded to the pageantry of voting on Election Day. I have enjoyed Election Day voting since I cast my first ballot in the spring of 1972 when I voted in Oregon’s Democratic primary.
Every presidential election year since has seen my wife and me troop to the polls on Election Day.
Not this year.
The coronavirus pandemic has me worried about getting infected. My wife is even more militant about the measures we need to take than I am. Texas isn’t likely to join several other states in requiring mail-in voting, given our state’s political leadership and its fealty to Donald Trump, who suggests — wrongly, I have to say — that mail-in voting is fraught with corruption. He’s lying.
So my wife and I will troop to the polls on Oct. 13. We will cast our votes as early as possible. We want them logged into the high-powered electronic system they use in Collin County. I heard this week that the Allen Event Center will open as a voting center for county residents. It is a spacious venue that will enable voters to practice social distancing while casting their ballots. I will be there among those early voters.
You know who will get my presidential vote. It won’t be the incumbent. Joe Biden wasn’t my first choice among the huge field of Democrats running initially. Indeed, I really never found anyone among the field who stood out.
Biden is the last man standing. He endured the grueling process. He won a key endorsement on the eve of the South Carolina primary, which he then won handily … and he never looked back.
So now I’m all in for Joe.
The process through which he gets my support, though, is the element I want to underscore. We live in perilous times as the nation battles a pandemic that continues to kill Americans at a heartbreaking rate. I do not want to risk becoming infected.
So, if voting early enables me to do my civic duty proudly while staying safe from a killer virus, that’s the way it’s going to be.